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Saudi deposits $3bn into Egypt central bank to help fight coronavirus

People walk past the Egyptian Central Bank in downtown Cairo on 3 November 2016. [KHALED DESOUKI/AFP via Getty Images]
People walk past the Egyptian Central Bank in downtown Cairo on 3 November 2016 [KHALED DESOUKI/AFP via Getty Images]

Saudi Arabia has deposited $3 billion into Egypt's central bank as part of efforts to help the North African country confront the coronavirus pandemic.

At the same time, the Gulf state extended the terms of $2.3 billion worth of previous deposits.

Egypt and Saudi are close allies with both countries forming half of the quartet which placed a blockade on Qatar in 2017.

Saudi and other Gulf states have given Egypt billions of dollars since the coup against the late President Mohamed Morsi in 2013.

Political turmoil during this period, in addition to the 2011 revolution, hit investment and tourism hard, and the cash was intended to help Egypt rebuild its economy.

The money also underscored regional alliances and indicated the Gulf states' favourable stance towards the toppling of the Muslim Brotherhood leader.

READ: World Bank approves $360m loan for Egypt

This latest deposit comes shortly after the World Bank approved a $360 million development policy financing loan to Egypt to support its post-pandemic recovery.

Last year, as the World Bank prepared to disburse up to $50 million for Egypt's healthcare system, Human Rights Watch criticised the bank for not speaking out about the arrest and intimidation of healthcare professionals in Egypt.

Several doctors have been imprisoned for challenging the official narrative on the death rate or for asking for PPE which wasn't being supplied.

Egypt's health care system has been on the verge of collapse for several years and has been chronically underfunded as corruption is rife.

Egypt's ministry said yesterday that 18,651 people have died from coronavirus so far but critics have long said the figures are much higher.

Sources in the Ministry of Health blame the government for not reintroducing precautionary measures, allowing parties and festivals to continue and not enforcing mask wearing or social distancing.

AfricaCoronavirusEgyptMiddle EastNewsSaudi Arabia
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